Drugs and Justice

Drugs and Justice - Professor Ann Lininger

  • Course Number: LAW-427
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: 15
  • Description: This course explores the impact of Ballot Measure 110 (decriminalizing minor possession of controlled substances), Measure 109 (allowing therapeutic use of psilocybin), and Measure 91 (legalizing adult-use of cannabis). We will examine how these laws affect Oregon’s justice system, communities hurt in the War on Drugs, individuals experiencing addiction and mental illness, and public safety. Students will learn about the citizen initiative process, which enables voters to enact sweeping law changes such as these. We will also consider the interplay of direct democracy and representative democracy, as illustrated by legislative action in the 2021 legislative session to change these new laws and prior legislative action changing M91. By the end of the semester, students will have a new understanding of powerful but messy tools to change established systems. This course meets once a week for 2 hours, with a combination of lecture-style instruction, guest speakers, and student presentations. Students will learn from people with experience as judges, prosecutors, civil rights attorneys, medical providers, elected officials, and people in recovery who have personal experience with the criminal justice system. During the semester, students will complete readings, engage in class discussion, write a paper, view a court proceeding, and participate in the 2021 Oregon legislative session.
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: The grade will be based on a final paper (15-20 pages), as well as a class presentation, comments on proposed legislation, attendance at a legislative hearing and a court hearing (remotely), and class participation.
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no